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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:00 pm 
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:lol: Absolute shambles.

I bet they've just sh*t their pants at the reaction it got.

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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:37 pm 
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Leeds United were embroiled in further chaos and farce with the club insisting that Brian McDermott remained as manager despite being relieved of his duties on Friday. The news followed a remarkable 5-1 victory over Huddersfield Town and confirmation that a controlling 75% stake in the club had been sold to a company owned by the Italian Massimo Cellino.

Leeds have this weekend been a club in disarray, with approximately 100 fans descending on Elland Road on Friday evening to voice their objection to McDermott's departure and attempting to speak to Cellino, who was at the stadium.

McDermott was advised to stay away from the game against Huddersfield despite being informed by a club director and the chairman that his sacking, apparently at the behest of Cellino, was not authorised as the ownership of the club remained with the Bahrain-based investment bank Gulf Finance House.

The former Reading manager's name was sung throughout the convincing win over west Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield, presided over in the dugout by McDermott's assistant Nigel Gibbs, before Leeds released an official statement on their website .

It read: "The club would like to make it clear that Brian McDermott remains our first-team manager. He has not been dismissed from his post as has been suggested and we look forward to him continuing in his role with us in taking Leeds United forwards."

McDermott, who reportedly refused a request from Cellino earlier in the week to have the former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa sit in the dugout as an observer for the 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town, had been planning to attend Saturday's match but was advised not to by the chairman, Salah Nooruddin.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Manager's Association, confirmed that the organisation was waiting for "clarification" of the situation at Leeds but that it was in touch with McDermott.

Bevan told the Observer: "Brian received a phone call last night [on Friday] from a solicitor apparently representing the club informing him that they were terminating his contract.

"This morning he then received a phone call and email from a director at Leeds and a phone call from the chairman to say that the company on behalf of the solicitor who had contacted Brian are not owners of Leeds United and that in the circumstances it was best that Brian did not take the match.

"They instructed him that it was best not to attend the match. But they confirmed to him that the company that the solicitor was representing was not owners of Leeds United. We don't know if the decision was authorised or not. It's a very sad situation for one of the oldest football clubs in the country. We're waiting for clarification for what is going on."

It appears as if Leeds is the subject of an internal power struggle between Cellino's company, Eleonora Sport Ltd, and GFH Capital. The position of David Haigh, the club's managing director, remains uncertain although Leeds did issue a statement before the Huddersfield game – in which United came back to win from a goal down with captain Ross McCormack scoring a hat-trick – confirming that Eleonora had completed a deal for a 75% stake in the club, subject to Football League approval.

It read: "Following recent media reports and speculation, GFH Capital would like to confirm that it has agreed to sell a 75% stake in the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd, a company owned by the Cellino family who have many years experience in football and who plan to invest substantially in the club including the re-acquisition of Elland Road. Eleonora will be working on completing the required Football League approval.

"The Cellino Family is a well-known Italian sports family, who have owned Serie A side Cagliari since 1992. They come to English football with an ambition to support Leeds United financially to take it to the Premier League and a belief that the club can sustain top-flight status."

Cellino, who is an agricultural entrepreneur and has previously been accused of fraud, has owned Cagliari for 20 years and had 36 managers in that time.

Leeds appeared to have signed one Italian player on loan while the ownership struggles have ensued, with midfielder Andrea Tabanelli listed on the club's website as part of the first-team squad.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:41 pm 
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It has been the modern fate of Leeds United fans to endure crises on the flipside of the Premier League miracle ever since their former chairman, Peter Ridsdale, announced the club's 2002 financial collapse with the landmark admission: "We lived the dream."

The nightmare appeared to have calmed under the somewhat unlikely ownership of the Bahrain-based investment bankers Gulf Finance House, who bought the club from Ken Bates in 2012, appointed Brian McDermott as manager and nursed crowds back up to 30,000. Yet now the club has crumpled again, after a hideous weekend and the on-off sacking of McDermott by a lawyer, Chris Farnell, apparently acting for Massimo Cellino, the owner of the Serie A club Cagliari, who has a fraud-related conviction and still has no signed agreement to take over Leeds.

Now, if GFH maintain its intention to sell the club to Cellino, Leeds fans could find themselves the extreme test case for the rules governing who is "fit and proper" to own an English football club.

It may well shock them to learn that a man with Cellino's criminal record, with further possible proceedings hanging over him after his reported arrest last year on suspicion of embezzlement – his Italian lawyer, Giovanni Cocco, said he denies any wrongdoing – looks like he would pass the Football League's "owners and directors test", formerly the "fit and proper persons test", were he to seal the deal with GFH.

The rules, introduced by the Football League in 2004, then by the Premier League after years of resisting and claiming they would be unworkable, were designed precisely to stop fraudsters taking over clubs, beloved sporting institutions to which fans pledge loyalty for life.

Yet neither the rules of the Football League nor the Premier League exclude people whose record appears to make it screamingly clear to many supporters that, in common sense terms, they cannot be "fit and proper".

Instead, wary of being challenged in court, the leagues drafted rules which stick tightly to a set of specific criteria, which prospective owners of historic clubs either pass or fail. There is no catch-all category that would keep away people whose conduct might bring the game into disrepute, like apparently sacking a manager before they even have control of a club, or trail past convictions behind them.

Extraordinarily, there is not even a measure that prevents people taking over a club if they are under investigation or facing charges for an alleged criminal offence of dishonesty. In the case of Cellino, who was arrested in Italy last year as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged misuse of public funds, he would be regarded by the Football League as innocent until the case is concluded.

His past convictions, for fraud in 1996 – Cocco said his fine and conviction were expunged on appeal – and a 15-month suspended sentence in 2001 for false accounting at Cagliari, make it most likely Cellino would pass the "owners and directors test" and be considered "fit and proper" to take over Leeds United.

The Football and Premier Leagues' rules do not bar from ownership, or the boards of clubs, a person who has convictions for fraud. Instead, mindful of fair play for reformed characters as recognised by British law, the Football League rules disqualify people only if: "They have unspent [our italics] convictions for offences of dishonesty, corruption, perverting the course of justice, serious breaches of the Companies Act or conspiracy to commit any of those offences."

The question of whether a conviction is "spent" is determined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Its aim is to allow people's reputations and life chances not to be forever burdened by a crime committed years earlier, and sets out specific lengths of time after which a criminal conviction is "spent", and people can be considered rehabilitated.

According to the solicitor Joy Merriam, who represents criminal specialist lawyers on the Law Society's council, the act applies also to convictions in other countries, so cover Cellino's record in Italy. Some convictions, including ones which resulted in a prison sentence of over 30 months, are excluded from the act and so are never "spent". However, section five of the act sets out that a conviction which resulted in a prison sentence of longer than six months but less than 30 – regardless of whether it was suspended, Merriam said – is "spent" after 10 years.

So Cellino's convictions in Italy, which date from 1996 and 2001, approaching 18 and 13 years ago, would be considered "spent" in English law, Merriam said. "If the facts are as reported," Merriam said, "he would appear to be able to rely on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and the convictions are spent."

Merriam said she found it "surprising" that the leagues do not include a "catch-all" in their rules which would allow them to bar a person from taking over a club if they believed he would not be good for a club or the wider game: "It is fairly standard for professional organisations to include a requirement that a person would not be accepted if he is likely to bring the organisation or industry into disrepute," she said.

The football authorities have always resisted that, rejecting it continually as a matter of opinion, which they would not be able to justify objectively, and so open to challenge. It means both leagues have a tight set of rules which appear to allow a person with Cellino's record to take over one of the biggest clubs in the country, whose large and passionate support has been on heartfelt display in recent days.

Several stages remain before that could happen. GFH, rocked by Leeds fans' vehement opposition, have clarified that they have not yet signed a deal with Cellino. However, they do have an agreement in principle to sell the club to him, after long negotiations with Andrew Flowers, the owner of Enterprise Insurance, partnered with GFH's own David Haigh, collapsed – according to Haigh because the money they required was not there.

GFH's priority is to make some money, having spent £20m in barely a year just to maintain McDermott with a squad decent enough for upper mid-table in the Championship. Sources close to the negotiations explain that following a constant search for other investors, including Leeds and Yorkshire business people, with months spent entertaining Flowers, Cellino was the only potential buyer to arrive, quickly, with the money ready.

McDermott, who calmly outlined in his press conference the humiliating telephone sacking then reinstatement by GFH, reflected: "This club doesn't belong to anybody but the fans."

That is true of football clubs in supporters' hearts but mostly, in English football, not in reality. Nor is the quality of ownership as protected, or "fit and proper", as many fans would wish. Additional reporting by Lizzy Davies in Rome



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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:42 pm 
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Andrew Flowers, a key member of a consortium hoping to take control of Leeds United, has withdrawn his bid to purchase the club and criticised the current owners Gulf Finance House (GFH) for apparently favouring the Italian Massimo Cellino, who moves one step closer to securing a takeover deal for the Championship side.

Flowers, the managing director of Leeds' shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance and a member of the Sport Capital consortium that saw its takeover bid rejected last month, was locked in talks with GFH in London on Wednesday but has bowed out of the race to buy United. The decision paves the way for Cellino to take control of Leeds, the Cagliari owner having already agreed a deal in principle for a 75% stake in the club for a reported £25m, subject to approval by the Football League.

Mike Farnan, the former managing director of Manchester United International, who had been in talks with Flowers in an attempt to join forces and pip Cellino to the post, intends to continue negotiations with GFH, but the Italian appears the frontrunner to complete a deal despite protests from supporters outside Elland Road last week.

Flowers said in a statement: "I entered discussions in good faith to buy this club for the simple reason that I am a lifelong supporter and sincerely believed that I could make a real contribution towards the goal of promotion to the Premier League and at the same time provide the stability and sound financial governance the club desperately needs.

"However, the emergence of Mr Cellino's bid, and the nature of the transaction, seems to have crystallised the attitudes of both GFH and the Leeds United board, enabling them to dispose of the club with no consideration for its ultimate security and wellbeing."

Flowers believes that the sale is "not in the interests of Leeds United, its players, staff or loyal supporters".

He added: "Both myself and my company, Enterprise Insurance, have been enormous financial supporters of the club for the last few years and ... we remain firmly convinced this deal will not give the club the stability or investor commitment it badly needs." GFH declined to comment.

Flowers and Enterprise issued a winding-up petition against Leeds on 29 January over an alleged unpaid debt relating to a loan made to the club in 2012, with a hearing set in the high court for 17 March. GFH is vigorously contesting the petition, which it says has "no valid grounds".

Cellino, meanwhile, flew back to his home in Miami at the weekend following a turbulent few days in Leeds, which saw the sacking of manager Brian McDermott on Friday evening, apparently at the behest of the Italian, and his reinstatement on Saturday.

Cellino, who has a conviction for fraud in Italy which is considered "spent" in the British legal system, is expected to pass the Football League's ownership test should Farnan's takeover efforts fail. Flowers added: "I have no other comment to make at this time about outstanding financial and legal issues between us and the current owners."


The saga continues


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:33 pm 
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The takeover of Leeds United by the Cellini family remains on hold.

The Football League has confirmed it is yet to receive all the information it needs to approve the deal.

The board of directors of the Football League met on Thursday night and they have confirmed that information is still missing and, until it is received, the takeover cannot go ahead.

The Football League also announced that they had refused to sanction the loan move of Andrea Tabanelli, as the transfer did not comply with League regulations.

The Italian, who moved from Cagliari, has now been told to return to the Sardinian club.

Cellini's takeover remains a controversial one. He was convicted of fraud in 1996 but then cleared on appeal.

He is reportedly behind the dismissal of Brian McDermott last Friday, though the manager was reinstated when it transpired that Cellini did not have the authority to fire him.

McDermott has insisted that mutual respect between himself and whoever becomes the owner of Leeds is the key to whether the club will be successful.

Despite his treatment by prospective new owner Cellino, in the box-seat to complete a reported £25million takeover, McDermott stressed again at a press conference on Thursday that he will not turn his back on the job.

"Do I look like a bloke who's going to walk away?" said McDermott.

"Whoever takes the club over, if I'm going to be manager, we have to work together and that goes both ways.

"I have to work with whoever the owner is and the owner has to work with me, because the relationship between the owner, whoever it might be, and the manager is key.

"I've spoken about (former Reading owner) Sir John Madejski and what a great relationship I had with him and how successful we were and to be successful the owner, whoever that might be, has to get on and work with the manager and vice-versa."


I know it's fun to laugh at it because it's Leeds but it sad that any club can be treated this way and football is basically powerless to do anything about it because footballs clubs are subject to the same rules as any business.

It's pretty obvious what this guys plan is get the club pump some cash in get it to the premiership then sell it or try and turn a profit from it as there is absolutely no reason why a PL club shouldn't be able to break even considering how much money they get from TV/matchday revenue.

The key to it all is putting a structure in place that allows for people leaving and not putting all the power in the hands of one man who at any minute could be gone either to another club or sacked for poor results.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:42 pm 
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Leeds United's prospective new owner Massimo Cellino says that he and Brian McDermott are now set to work together.

The Italian gained control of Leeds just before transfer deadline day in January, and one of his first actions was to sack McDermott.

Just 24 hours later, the 52-year-old was reinstated and now it appears Cellino is very much planning to work with the former Reading boss.

"Brian has a big heart and gives 100 per cent, we get on well," Cellino told The Sun.

"There was a lot of misunderstanding early on and we've put that behind us. He loves the guitar and I want to help him get even better.

"I'm getting two guitars sent over for him from Cagliari. Maybe we could even play a concert at Elland Road one day.

"I love music. I have been lucky to play with Deep Purple, the Scorpions, Cream, Clapton and even George Harrison."

Cellino is currently waiting on Football League approval, but he already has plans in place to buy back the club's Elland Road stadium and their training ground at Thorp Arch.

"There is an agreement that we can buy back Elland Road for £15.7million and I would do that as soon as a takeover went through," added Cellino.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:49 am 
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Leeds United have expressed an interest in landing Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Brian McDermott has been given the green light to bring in a new keeper at Elland Road, and Sky Sports understands that contact has been made with Stoke over Butland.

The England international had picked up some playing time with the Potters in recent weeks when Asmir Begovic was injured, but the Bosnian is now fully fit and Stoke are willing to let him leave on loan again.

After signing on a permanent deal at the Britannia Stadium, Butland stayed on loan at Birmingham before spending time with Barnsley earlier this season.

The 20-year-old is still hoping to push for a place in Roy Hodgson's England World Cup squad but to do that, he knows he needs to be playing and is hopeful of moving in the next few weeks.

Former Republic of Ireland shot-stopper Paddy Kenny, 35, has played in all of Leeds' 30 Championship fixtures so far this season. The Whites travel to face Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

Leeds are also understood to be looking at Tottenham's Brazil international Heurelho Gomes.

The 33-year-old, like Butland, is keen on going to the World Cup and is eager to secure some football.

Gomes last started a league game for Tottenham in 2011. He had a spell with German side Hoffenheim last season.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:05 pm 
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Prospective Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has been told he must wait to complete his takeover of the Championship club as the Football League gathers more information about the Italian.

The club's current owners Gulf Finance House Ltd (GFH) confirmed earlier this month that they agreed the sale of the club to Eleonara Sport, owned by Italian Cellino. Cellino will spend £25million to own a 75% share of the Yorkshire outfit.

The Football League met to discuss Cellino's potential buy-out on Tuesday, but have requested more time to rubberstamp the deal as they seek more information on the Miami-based businessman.

In a statement, the Football League said: "The Football League remains in discussions with both the owners and proposed purchasers of Leeds United, regarding the planned change of ownership.

"To date, a significant amount of the requested information has been supplied by GFH and Eleonora Sport, but there are still a number of outstanding matters that will require further submissions from the two parties. There is also the realistic prospect of there being further questions arising out of these submissions that they will be required to answer.

"The board of the Football League is next scheduled to meet on March 13 where it will receive an update on the matter from the League's executive, unless all the remaining issues can be resolved satisfactorily in advance of this date."

Cellino has previous convictions from his time in Italy, where he owns Serie A club Cagliari.

Cellino made his first public outing since agreeing to buy the club during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:08 pm 
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Massimo Cellino's proposed takeover of Leeds United could collapse if the Italian is found guilty of tax evasion at a Sardinian court later this month.

Cellino denies illegally evading paying €400,000 import duty on a yacht.

The case is due to be heard on 18 March, five days after the next meeting of the Football League, which is currently considering whether he passes the "fit and proper person" test.

The Football League is likely to delay a decision until the case is decided.

If the Cagliari owner is convicted, the League would almost certainly bar him from completing his purchase of 75% of current owner GFH's stake in Leeds.

The League's "fit and proper persons" rules prohibit people with unspent convictions for dishonesty offences from being directors, 30% owners or from exercising control over one of its clubs.

The vessel in question was seized in Cagliari in 2010 and the Sardinian prosecutor wants it confiscated while hitting the Miami-based entrepreneur with a €1.1m (£904,000) fine.

Cellino is also under investigation for the alleged misuse of public funds concerning Cagliari's stadium, an investigation which his lawyer Professor Giovanni Cocco told BBC Radio Leeds is "an irrelevance".

BBC Radio Leeds reports that the Football League is also asking questions of GFH as to why Leeds United chairman Salah Nooruddin's company Envest has recently been removed from the club's ownership statement.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:31 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Leeds United's potential owner Massimo Cellino says he will not fight the Football League if they refuse to grant him permission to take charge at Elland Road.

Cellino must pass the league's 'fit and proper persons' test to take ownership of the Championship club.

The Italian agreed to buy a 75 per cent shareholding in Leeds at the start of February, but he is still waiting to get the green light to take charge.

"I actually appreciate what the Football League are doing and it's good they are being so thorough," he told The Sun.

"I just hope they do this with everyone now because they haven't in the past.

"If they turn me down, I will walk away - I will not fight it. I will go back to Miami to spend all my time with my wife and children.

"I don't think there is anyone better than me to run this club, though.

"You have to ask why I came to buy Leeds? To steal money from them? There is nothing left to steal!"

Hammering

Cellino also let his feelings be known about their 5-1 hammering at the hands Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Cellino, who has spent over 20 years in charge of Serie A side Cagliari, pulled no punches in his assessment of Leeds' display.

"We didn't even try to play and they made the fans ashamed. I feel so sorry for the supporters and want to put this right," he said.

The result piled more pressure on boss Brian McDermott - sacked by Cellino in January only to be reinstated within 24 hours - but he appears to have the Italian's backing.

"The players ****** me off because they didn't fight. I blame them, not Brian - I'd like to support him," he said.

"In 20 years of owning Cagliari, I never once saw them play like that. They might lose, but they always fight. We talk about Cellino and McDermott but this was about the players.

"What they did today, I would kick their ***** one by one. They are guilty.

"They were without pride and should be ashamed of themselves. They're chickens and are much better than this."


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:13 pm 
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Leeds United: What is going on at Elland Road?
The final day of January was the start of another chapter in the convoluted story of Leeds United.

That was the day that Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino agreed a deal to buy a 75% stake in the Championship club from current owner GFH Capital.

Since then manager Brian McDermott has been sacked and then reinstated, the club has been given a winding-up petition which was then withdrawn and the team have lost their last two home matches by an aggregate score of 9-3.

Cellino's takeover is still with the Football League and it is likely to delay a decision over his suitability to own the club until the case for tax evasion he is facing in Sardinia is decided.

Amid the uncertainty over the club's ownership and the poor performances on the pitch, BBC Radio Leeds' United reporter Adam Pope looks at the situation at Elland Road.

Why are they in this mess?

GFH bought the club from the hugely unpopular Ken Bates in December 2012, promising to return the club to its former glories but also keen not to make a fanfare about spending fortunes.

In fact since officially coming in, and it had been funding the club prior to its purchase, it is believed it has spent £40m on the club up to October 2013.

A deal was agreed with Sport Capital, a consortium featuring managing director David Haigh and main sponsor Andrew Flowers, but the deal collapsed over a failure to produce funds.

Cellino had been looking to invest in the club as part of the Sport Capital bid but wanted to take too much of a stake. This led to him going it alone and he agreed a deal with GFH on 31 January.

So, the club is owned by GFH but has been funded by the Italian for the last two months. In that time it is thought he has put around £6m into the club to cover wages, signings and even work on the pitches at the club's Thorp Arch training ground.

However, with the club losing £1m a month and Cellino no longer willing to put more money in until his ownership of the club is confirmed, the situation looks bad.

On top of all of this Bates is attempting to sue the club for wrongful dismissal over his departure last summer. Should he be successful that would be another £1m the club would need to pay out.

How bad is the situation?

Clearly the situation behind the scenes can't be great.

David Haigh Managing director David Haigh insists 'there is no chance of the club going into administration'

The club has a high wage bill, at least £15m a year, with some of the highest earners not really figuring greatly in the first team and still contracted for another season.

The fans are worried about the threat of administration after seeing everything the club has gone through since the 'living the dream' days of Peter Ridsdale.

However, Haigh, who is now no longer involved with GFH and is set to become chief executive should Cellino's takeover go through, moved to allay any immediate fears over entering administration in an interview with the Yorkshire Post.

"The club is in good hands. It has money and there is no chance of the club going into administration. None whatsoever," he said.

"I keep hearing these whispers, where people have put two and two together to make 550. We had a winding-up order recently, which caused fans to panic.

"But the club is not in any kind of precarious financial position. Either now or in the future. It is not true and never has been."

On the pitch the team has struggled recently, with just two wins from their last 15 matches and nine goals conceded in their last two home games.

Of course it is not much of a surprise that form on the pitch has suffered given the uncertainty off it but there are now a growing number of fans questioning McDermott.

The former Reading boss has largely been a popular figure at Elland Road since his appointment last April and he remains defiant that he is the right man for the club long-term having taken Reading out of the Championship as champions in 2012.

What could happen now?

If the Football League turns down Cellino then GFH will need to find a new investor.

At the moment it is not clear who that could be but the Together Leeds consortium is believed to still be interested in taking over. The group led by local businessman Mike Farnan and which also includes Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity and former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson has previously been frustrated in its attempts to take over but could become the only viable option.

In the interim GFH would need to start funding the club again, something that it will not be keen to do.

Should Cellino's takeover get the go-ahead then it's fair to say that Leeds fans would be in for an interesting ride.

He clearly has, or at least had, doubts over McDermott and the team's recent performances will have done little to dissuade him from that. He called the players "chickens" after Saturday's 5-1 defeat by Reading and a high turnover of players is probably quite likely.

He tried to bring in midfielder Andrea Tabanelli from Cagliari when he first came in and an influx of players from Italy could be possible.

On top of that he has a reputation for sacking managers and has a good relationship with former West Ham and Watford boss Gianfranco Zola.

After some initial trepidation it seems that a lot of fans are now on board with Cellino, having lost all faith in GFH.

Following Tuesday's debacle, McDermott told BBC Radio Leeds that he could not plan for the summer and that stability remained the key word. He shares the belief that Cellino is the right man for the club but whether the Football League agrees remains to be seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:23 pm 
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The Football League has ruled that Italian businessman Massimo Cellino cannot take over Leeds United.

Cellino failed the League's Owners' and Directors' Test because of a recent conviction in an Italian court.

A statement from the Football League read: "At its meeting yesterday evening (Sunday), the Board of The Football League considered the eligibility of Massimo Cellino under its Owners' and Directors' Test.

"The Board considered detailed legal advice with regard to the application of its regulations within the context of a decision made under Italian law.

"Mr Cellino was recently found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a Court in Sardinia of an offence under Italian tax legislation relating to the non-payment of import duties on a boat. This resulted in a fine of €600,000, an order for the payment of trial costs and the confiscation of the boat in question.

"Having fully considered the matter, the Board agreed unanimously that the decision of the Italian Court does constitute a disqualifying condition under its Owners' and Directors' Test.

"The relevant disqualifying condition being that Massimo Cellino has been convicted of an offence involving acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.

"In line with Football League regulations, Massimo Cellino is entitled to appeal against the Board's decision within 14 days. In such circumstances, The League would seek to expedite the process to deliver certainty to all parties in the shortest possible timeframe."

Cellino has previously suggested that he would not contest the League's decision, despite him appealing the ruling of the Italian court and his lawyer arguing that he should be viewed as innocent until that final sentence is passed.

The League's rejection of Cellino is the latest development in what has been a protracted and often chaotic series of events surrounding the Italian's proposed takeover of the club.

Cellino was reported to be pivotal in the decision to sack Brian McDermott with two hours of the last January transfer window remaining, despite him not having yet finalised a deal to buy a 75% stake in the club.

McDermott was reinstated as manager a day later, with Cellino denying that he was responsible for sacking him and suggesting he was looking forward to forging an effective working relationship with the former Reading boss.

Since then, the club have suffered a dip in form, which saw them win just two of 16 games before Saturday's 2-1 home win over Millwall, a run which promoted McDermott to demand a resolution to the club's "de-stabilising" off-the-field affairs.

Bahrain-based investment bank GFH recently wrote to the Football League to attack what they perceived to be an "unprecedented delay" in deciding on Cellino's take-over.

With the Cellino deal now having being rejected, the future of Leeds is again in doubt, although managing director David Haigh recently said there was "no chance" the club would go into administration.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:03 pm 
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Massimo Cellino is appealing against the Football League's decision to block his proposed takeover of Leeds United, his lawyers have confirmed.

Cellino has agreed a £25million deal for a majority stake in the Championship club with owners Gulf Finance House.

However, the Football League's board has refused to sanction the deal as he failed their Owners and Directors Test following a conviction for tax evasion in Italy.

Cellino, who has been in charge of Serie A outfit Cagliari for over 20 years, was given 14 days to appeal the decision and he intends to do so.

"I have to appeal," Cellino said. "I feel a responsibility to the fans who I am proud to say wanted me."

His UK lawyers Mishcon de Reya told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "Mr Cellino will be appealing the decision. We have no further comment."

Leeds had responded to the original decision by saying they are "disappointed" and clearly they will be hoping that Cellino's appeal will be successful


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:08 am 
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The crisis threatening to engulf Leeds United reached new depths on Friday with the manager, Brian McDermott, and players receiving only half of their March wages.

Leeds, owned by the Bahrain-based investment bank Gulf Finance House, are in turmoil after the Football League this week rejected a proposed takeover by the Italian entrepreneur Massimo Cellino, who had been bankrolling the club for two months.

Cellino had been paying the club's running costs and wages for all staff since agreeing a deal to buy 75% of the club for £25m in February. However, he has now halted the cash flow while he appeals against the league's decision to disqualify him under its "owners and directors' test".

The Professional Footballers' Association was in talks with the Leeds squad on Friday, with the defender Jason Pearce liaising with the organisation's assistant chief executive, Richard Jobson.

McDermott, who was sacked at the behest of Cellino last month only to be reinstated after outrage from fans, has received 50% of his wage along with the remaining members of his coaching staff, including his assistant, Nigel Gibbs. Other non-playing members of staff are understood to have been paid in full.

The potential threat of administration, which would result in a 10-point penalty, continues to loom large over Leeds, who are 14th in the Championship and 15 points above the bottom three.

The PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said: "We're in touch with the club, bearing in mind what is happening there. The players seem to be holding together, they know what's at stake but are staying together and waiting to see if it can get resolved. It's not going to be easy bearing in mind what has happened and the ownership of the club. The supporters may be getting a bit disenchanted because they've been here before.

"Massimo Cellino has already put money in and they are saying the money has come from him but the balance will be dependent on what the Football League say next week. The league want to get the matter resolved."

The Football League said on Thursday that Cellino's appeal was due to be held in the next fortnight. However, given the urgent situation at Leeds, the organisation wants to resolve it quickly and therefore a hearing could take place on Monday. The appeal will be heard by an independent QC.

Cellino was rejected under the league's "owners and directors' test" after being found guilty last week in an Italian court of failing to pay €388,500 (£321,000) of import tax on a yacht but he denied that he was a "dishonest crook" and will appeal against the ruling.

GFH representatives were unavailable when contacted by the Guardian amid no official word from the club.



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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:09 am 
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Massimo Cellino believes Leeds are suffering as a result of the Football League's handling of his prospective takeover of the club.

Cellino is currently awaiting the outcome of his appeal against the League board's decision to block his purchase of 75% of the Championship club.

The League disqualified Cellino, 57, from becoming owner or a director of United last week following his recent conviction in a Sardinia court for tax evasion, of which the Italian insists he is not guilty.

Since the League's ruling, it has been revealed that the Leeds players have not been paid half of their wages for this month, having been asked to defer the payment until the outcome of the appeal by current owners GFH Capital, who are in dispute with Cellino over who is responsible for the funding of the club.

Cellino is reported to have already invested a considerable sum in the club, believed to be around £10m.

Leeds are also in dire form on the pitch, having lost six of their last seven matches to slip to 15th in the table.

"The message I have to the Football League is that they should look after the clubs they represents in the proper way," Cellino told Sky Sports News. "I don't think they are acting in the interests of the clubs. They are hurting Leeds, not Massimo Cellino, very deeply."

Cellino revealed that he would pay the player's wages if and when his takeover of Leeds is given the green light by the Football League, but admitted he did not know when the decision on his appeal would be made.

"I don't know when I will hear the outcome of the appeal," he said. "I was expecting the last trial to be accepted by the League so I don't know. It is a very strange situation.

"I have been submitted to a couple of trials like someone who has come to England to do something bad, which was not my purpose. I just went there to challenge for Leeds and to find something nice with Leeds. This situation is a nightmare."

However, Cellino vowed not to walk away from Leeds and voiced sympathy for the fans during this period of uncertainty, which includes suggestions that the club may have to go into administration should the Italian fail in his appeal.

"I cannot walk out because I have done nothing wrong and I am here to face all the problems," he added.

"The big problem is what damage is being done to Leeds as they are losing a lot of games for a lot of reasons. They need another four or six points to stay in the Championship.

"The supporters are really hurt and not being respected, that is the main problem.

"I hope everything is going to be alright and they let me run the club the way I know."


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:07 pm 
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The challenge facing Massimo Cellino in turning around the fortunes of Leeds United has been thrown into sharp focus after the club revealed losses £9.5m for the 2012-13 financial year.

Cellino hopes to have his takeover ratified by the Football League at a board meeting on Thursday after winning his appeal against its decision to block his takeover, but the 57-year-old Italian has inherited debts at Elland Road of more than £22m and under the terms of his deal to buy 75% of the club's shares, those debts will increase to around £24m.

The Football League's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations allow a maximum loss of £8m this season, with a January transfer embargo for clubs that fail to comply.

Leeds' latest accounts show an operating loss of £11.6m, softened by incoming transfer fees of £2m.

Since Bahrain-based investment bank GFH Capital bought Leeds from Ken Bates in December 2012, the club has made considerable losses, with attendances falling by nearly eight per cent, gate receipts down £2m and turnover down from £31.8m to £28.5m.

The club's accounts for the previous financial year showed a profit of £317,000 with an operating loss of £3.3m.

It has also been revealed that club directors received £753,938 during the latest financial year, an increase from £312,200 in 2011-12.

"KW Bates did not receive any emoluments or benefits during the year," the accounts state. "The highest paid director was paid a salary of £265,449 and accrued a bonus of £440,000."


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has said that previous owners GFH were "not straight" with manager Brian McDermott when he was appointed.

The former Reading boss was brought in to replace Neil Warnock last April and he helped keep the club in the Championship last season.

Cellino intends to meet with McDermott this week to discuss future plans.

"They should have said to him that there is no money because he is not a magician," he told BBC Sport.

"It was all wrong the way that he came here. They were not straight with him.

"They forced him to be somebody that he wasn't and that he never wanted to become."

When Cellino's deal to take the majority shareholding of Leeds from GFH Capital was confirmed in January, McDermott was sacked, only to be reinstated a day later.

But the Italian said: "I have to treat him with respect because he is a nice man and a good coach and has tried to do the job.

"We have to talk but we have much bigger problems than his future."

Cellino plans to bring in former Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Bradford City forward Benito Carbone to work with the club's academy.

"We have a lot of things to do and we need to start from the bottom again with the academy," he said.

"Benito will rebuild the academy with my help. I will not accept the philosophies they have there at the moment because I don't like them - people must accept my conditions."

Cellino, 57, who completed his protracted takeover of Leeds earlier this month, believes the Elland Road club can be back in the Premier League in 2016.

They were relegated from the top flight in 2004 and have not returned since.

"We have to fix the club's illness and then after that we can focus on going up," he concluded.

"My plan is to spend the next months getting the club healthy and then the next season we can go up.

"The club must be healthy again before we can be promoted. People before were throwing money out of the window and just hoping to get to the Premier League to save the club's finances."

Leeds, 15th in the Championship, finish their season with a home match against promotion hopefuls Derby County on Saturday.


Will be interesting to see if McDermott survives the summer


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 9:03 am 
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Former Leeds United managing director David Haigh on Thursday gave a "full statement" to police relating to the installation of surveillance equipment at Elland Road.

Haigh, who left Leeds on April 11 after the club was taken over by Italian Massimo Cellino, claims the cameras were put there in response to reports of Class A drug use in the boardroom.

Earlier the same day it was confirmed by police that they were investigating the surveillance equipment which was discovered by Cellino.

The presence of the cameras themselves in the boardroom and toilets was not enough to prompt a criminal probe, but allegations they were purchased as a result of a misappropriation of club funds were.

Haigh was on Thursday interviewed by West Yorkshire Police and a spokesman for the 36-year-old later released a statement explaining his position, claiming the cameras were as a result of illegal activity.

It read: "David has today given a full statement to police officers investigating complaints made to West Yorkshire Police by the new majority shareholders of Leeds United FC that surveillance devices were found at various locations, including the boardroom, at Elland Road.

"As the former managing director of the club, David was fully aware of the installation of these devices which were quite properly paid for by the club. They were put in place following reports which he received between the end of January and early March this year alleging the recent misuse of Class A drugs in and around the boardroom. One of these reports was made by police.

"It was, and remains, David's view that not to have taken action to seek to provide evidence against the alleged perpetrators would have been in breach of his duty as a fit and proper person to be handling the day to day running of a Football League club.

"David is of the firm belief that illegal drugs have no place in football, whether it be on the pitch or in the boardroom. He will continue to co-operate fully with any police or other enquiries."

Haigh resigned from his position citing comments made by Cellino as a key reason.

Cellino was heavily critical of Haigh in a conversation with a supporter which he did not know was being recorded, while also telling The Sun that he intended to sack him. Haigh had been set to become Leeds' chief executive under Cellino.

Cellino completed a 75% buy-out of Leeds from Gulf Finance House Capital in April after a long period of turbulence.

Haigh, who previously worked for GFHC, saw his own takeover bid for the club collapse in January and then ushered in the bid of Cellino.

Agricultural entrepreneur Cellino saw his initial takeover blocked by the Football League owing to a tax conviction in Italy relating to a yacht, but had it overturned at an independent appeal.

Despite leaving Elland Road almost a month ago, Haigh remains a key figure with regards to the club's future. The company which he was looking to buy Leeds with, Sport Capital, made two loans to the club in November 2013.

One loan of £825,000 is understood to have been repaid but the non-payment of one of £950,000 has seen a winding-up order issued by Sport Capital, which is due to be heard in court on June 9.

No-one from Leeds was able to comment about the allegations.


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 Post subject: Re: Leeds: The Damned United
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:31 pm 
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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has revealed the full extent of the "alarming" financial situation he has inherited at Elland Road following his takeover of the club last month.

The 57-year-old Italian businessman, whose deal to buy 75 per cent of the club's shares was completed on April 8, detailed the debts taken on from previous owner Gulf Finance House Capital at a meeting with fans' group Leeds United Supporters Trust.

The club's accounts announced last month for 2012/13 showed a loss of 9.5 million for the year and Cellino, who has described his first weeks in charge as "unbelievable, impossible", said daily running costs were "well over £100,000".

It is understood the club is losing more than one million a month and after its Thorp Arch training complex was closed last Friday until pre-season training begins in July, staff are expecting redundancies in the coming weeks.

LUST board members met with Cellino on Monday and said in a statement: "Mr Cellino pulled no punches when he explained to us that he had taken on huge debts from the GFH era and an operating deficit of alarming proportions.

"He went into substantial detail and provided supporting documentation on expenditure.

"While it is not sensible or practical to list all the sums given, Mr Cellino left us in no doubt about to the size of the task and the seriousness of the position the club is in.

"There are, however, two examples given that can be relayed to illustrate the gravity of the situation.

"Firstly, Mr Cellino told us the club is spending well over £100,000 a day on operating.

"Secondly, he informed us that the upcoming season ticket sales had been mortgaged prior to his arrival, but since taking over he had settled the loan in question."

Previous owner GFH Capital, a Bahrain-based investment bank, has denied season-ticket money for the 2014/15 season was mortgaged before Cellino's takeover.

While non-playing staff throughout the club are braced for redundancies, Leeds are expected to announce which players will be leaving Elland Road this summer when their retained list is revealed later this week.

Cellino has targeted a return to the Premier League in 2016. Leeds were relegated from the top flight in 2004 and have not returned since.


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